Melbourne, June 9 : Parents in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, have been given a wave of specially designed anti-sport rage kits to bring down the level of field-side tantrums in local sport and lure amateur umpires back into the industry.
The kits include guidelines for volunteers on hosing down parents who lose their temper during a game, as well as posters, stickers and brochures advising hot-tempered spectators to behave.
"It is an issue for clubs who have to deal with people who don't behave well. There are over 5000 volunteers who provide sport every weekend and the last thing they need is not be bothered with people who act in a really ridiculous way," the Daily Telegraph quoted Kerry Turner, the Government's community sport and recreation manager, as saying.
"The problem is often over zealous, anxious parents on the sideline expecting way too much and it can be bad language right through to full-on assault," she added.
The anti-rage project was actually created to lure umpires back into sport after a number left following sport rage, largely from loud-mouthed parents.
According to figures, the number of sport rage prevention resources distributed in children's sporting clubs in NSW have rocketed from 19,500 in 2005-06 to 202,400 in 2007-08 with a further 282,700 to go out in the next 12 months.
Turner said that between 1997 and 2001, there was a 26 per cent decline in the number of referees volunteering and 'lack of respect and behaviour' was cited as the main reason volunteers were hanging up their whistles.
Some of the rage has subsided and the numbers are back up, but the top issue for volunteers is still 'parental expectation" - who not only put pressure on their own kids, but also game officials.
"We do live in a more anxious society, there are higher expectation of services," Turner said.
Graham West, NSW Sports Minister, said that the kit was designed in a bid to arm volunteers with the tools to address bad behaviour in their local sport.
"While it cannot stop all sport rage incidents, the kit helps club committees get on the front foot to proactively deal with a range of issues," he said.
And a recent evaluation of the kit used by than 50 per cent of sporting organisations showed that it changed the behaviour of field-side parents and improved the behaviour of players.
Almost 65 per cent of the clubs surveyed reported they now had a clear approach to dealing with sport rage incidents and 80 per cent said they felt more confident about handling irate spectators.